The Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers Protection Amendment Bill ensure that actors will never again be forced to sign away all their rights. It is essential that this power imbalance is confronted and addressed through legislative reforms.
South Africa still does not have a statutory framework that underpins the actor’s Moral and Economic Rights in audio-visual contracts. While this deficiency guarantees the income of South African Producers and facilitators in film, it prejudices the earnings of South African acting talent.
More than anything, the absence of meaningful regulation and transformation has entrenched a power imbalance between actors, and those who commission and fund audio-visual productions. The performance sector is now rife with economic exploitation, sexual harassment and general abuse of actors.
South Africans therefore demand the adoption of the Performers Protection Amendment Bill, which will protect actors by enshrining among others, the following rights:
- The right to collective bargaining so that actors are better able to negotiate their contracts.
- Statutory Royalty Sharing, so that actors can be adequately compensated for their work.
- Ratification of the Beijing treaty which will defend the economic rights of actors.
Now is the time to give actors their rightful place in the economy. Allow them to work, to earn, to be seen and heard by this legislature. Allow them the right, already permitted to the many countries who already consume their work, to be protected by the very Constitution that is celebrated as the most progressive in the world.